FIL-10008 - Approaching Film: History and Theory
Coordinator: Neil Archer Tel: +44 1782 7 33202
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 30
Study Hours: 300
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

This module provides a detailed and analytical overview of the development of the feature film, from the beginning of the twentieth century to the beginning of the twenty-first. We will look at the history of film┐s development internationally, reflecting on the various circumstances ┐ cultural, economic, technological, political ┐ shaping the transformation of film across different contexts. As a result, the module will consider films not in isolation, but as texts both specific to their place and time, and also
as parts of a longer historical journey in the evolution of the medium. Accompanying this historical approach, the module will visit a number of key theoretical discussions about the meaning and value of film, offering invaluable insights into the ways we analyse and understand films in their contexts. Students will engage throughout with key technical terms for analysing film, and will become adept in approaching film criticism from a historical perspective.

Familiarise students with essential terminology and concepts used in film analysis
Foster an understanding of a range of historical and theoretical approaches to the academic study of film
Identify and analyse through diverse examples key areas of film aesthetics
Introduce to students the key ideas and debates that have contributed to the development of film theory and analysis in the 20th Century
Enable students to practise close film analysis through verbal and written exercises
Explain the historical and cultural factors that have shaped different theories of film
Enable students to recognise and understand a variety of different approaches to film and to be able to compare the potential and limitations of each.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Engage in detailed film analysis using appropriate terminology accurately: 1,3,

Write concisely and competently, in both short and extended written forms about a variety of forms of cinema: 1,2,3,

Discuss the role of different aspects of film aesthetics in the production of narrative meaning in cinema: 1,2,3,

Articulate an understanding of the connection between film production, film criticism, and history: 1,2,3,

Carry out independent critical analysis of the value and/or limitations of different approaches to film analysis and film criticism: 1,2,3,

Interact confidently and regularly with the Keele Learning Environment (KLE), as well as other electronic and online resources: 1,2,3,

Understand and discuss the implications of film for exploring issues of identity, be they national, racial, sexual or political: 1,2,3,

Identify the significance of wider international contexts to the production and reception of film: 1,2,3,

Study hours

10 x 1 hour lecture 10 hours
10 x 2 hour lecture + screening 20 hours
12 x 2 hour seminar 24 hours
Essay writing workshops 2 hours
Supervision and feedback 4 hours
Class preparation 48 hours
Short paper preparation 80 hours
Essay plan preparation 22 hours
Essay preparation 90 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Short Paper weighted 40%
2000-word analysis
Students will produce a 2000-word piece of film analysis, based on two films from the selection of works screened and discussed in the first part of the module. Emphasis will be placed here on the ability of students to identify and utilise appropriate theoretical approaches in the analysis of films across different contexts. Students will be asked to approach their chosen texts through one of the critical frameworks considered over the first semester of the module; for instance, genre, authorship, industry or cinephilia.

2: Essay-Plan weighted 10%
750-words essay plan
Students will prepare a 750-word plan for their main essay (which will be completed at the end of semester 2), including a definition of key terms, summary of approach to essay, key arguments and key theorists and critical texts to be referenced.

3: Essay weighted 50%
2250-word essay
Students will answer one question from a list provided. All questions will ask students to analyse in detail aspects of film context and theory in relation to two of the films studied on the second half of the course.